We just wrapped up our first contemporary play as First Year Drama students. I was in "Blue Window" by Craig Lucas (the original set designer of which is a Filipino colleague, Loy Arcenas). I played Alice Fisher, who is a famous writer living with her female lover, Boo.
The challenge of this new project was working on a play without my teachers for the first time. That meant keeping the integrity of every thing I have learned so far without the presence of those who guided me toward my initial discoveries with the craft. That also meant releasing myself from the internal pressure of wanting to be a "good actor" in rehearsals. I've learned that it is very important to allow oneself to be in a muck for a while within the course of a creative process. In that muck one can allow oneself to be messy, to try things without the safety net of it being brilliant, to sift through the mud and rocks - basically to live and work in uncertainty.
When one stays the course, soon enough, one crosses a line and things begin to drop in. I think there was a point probably 2 days before the showings when we felt as a cast that we crossed a line together and we began to "play." That is when all of the stuff one has worked on has moved from one's head to one's body and one achieves one of the most rewarding aspects of the craft: Freedom within a structure.
On a lighter note, since this play was set in the 80's I had to learn to curl my hair by myself.
This quarter of the school year has been a tricky one because the adrenaline of the initial honeymoon stage has begun to wear off and I am confronted more and more with my "aloneness."
Female poet Elizabeth Bishop believed that "everyone should experience at least one prolonged period of solitude in life" (from BrainPickings.org).
I've been reading a lot about solitude to help me understand what I am going through. I've always drawn strength from my aloneness but I am experiencing a heightened degree of aloneness being in a new city on my own. I have no complaints or regrets whatsoever, only a deeper desire to find an unassailable serenity with one's own company.
For the past two weeks I've been finding ways on how I can better care for myself amidst school work and the entire process of being "in transition."
There's not much I want to say, except to share a poem I wrote for class.
WHERE I LIVED
I live on a small mountain.
I walk down the cemented hill with my backpack
and one other bag. Sometimes it’s a large suitcase.
I reach the bottom of the hill and I am already sweating
especially on the skin between my nose and mouth.
I am waiting for a tricycle.
A mosquito tries to land on the skin showing
between my tights and my sandals.
A white butterfly floats on the bushed plants
of the neighbor’s garden.
Forever and the tricycle arrives. Sometimes I have to ride in
the back when it’s full. The seat is uneven and I don’t have
much space so the metal
protrudes against the bone of my butt and
it hurts but I endure because the ride is quick.
I hold on to the rail of the roof so I won’t fall off.
I see the reflection of my face in the side mirror,
fair skin in contrast to the browns of the others.
The wind blows in my face.
Across from us a truck passes with carpenters in the back.
I cannot pull out my umbrella to hide my face and so
I look away and pretend they don’t matter and I don’t care.
I reach the gasoline station. I finger for eight pesos and pay.
I strap my backpack in front of me and hurl my
suitcase up the overpass across the highway to the other
side to get my ride. I have to walk fast so the snatchers
won’t slice my bag. I see vendors blocking the way.
Why do they walk so slow?
I try to overtake the teenagers in white tops
and black bottoms chatting or texting with their phones.
The sound of cars below me and the buses overspeeding
and honking. The sight of a pile of cars and buses squished
together because there is no line. The smell of smoke and dust
preventing me from breathing fully.
I walk as fast as I can to get to the other side,
and I’ve not even gotten to my ride yet.
I work, I go home and I do it all over again.
Every day, for five years.
Regina De Vera
January 19, 2016
I do marvel at the life I have now in spite of its waves. There comes a moment in one's life when one is presented the opportunity to choose between the life one has been born with and the life that fits who you truly are and I grabbed that opportunity. So here I am, planting the seeds for new anchors.
I am a Filipino actress alternating between New York and Manila. I received my acting training at The Juilliard School. Take a look around!